Grove City Planning Commission OKs one residential rezoning request, splits on another

Both requests move on to City Council

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group

Two applications reviewed by the Grove City Planning Commission are moving forward to City Council for its consideration, although only one received the commission's approval.

The commission May 4 approved the preliminary development plan for a residential subdivision Pulte Homes of Ohio is proposing for a 145-acre site north of London Groveport Road (state Route 665) and east of Jackson Pike (state Route 104) in Grove City.

An application submitted by Julie and Tim Ruzicka to rezone a 1.08-acre site at 2102 Edwards Road from C-1 commercial to SF-2 single-family residential failed as a result of a split 2-2 vote among the four commission members who attended the May 4 meeting.

That application will be given a final review and vote by council, according to commission chairwoman Julie Oyster.

Oyster and commission member David Frea voted in favor of the Ruzickas' application, but Larry Titus and Jim Rauck voted against it.

Julie Ruzicka said she and her husband, who live on Edwards Road near the property up for rezoning, are seeking to change the site to residential to complement two other lots on Edwards Road they recently had sold to families who plan to build homes there.

Looking at the land-use map included in the Grove City 2050 master plan, "it makes more sense" to keep the corridor that includes the commercially zoned properties above and below 2102 Edwards intact, Titus said.

"There's a shortage of commercial land all over Grove City," he said. "Commercial sites are sought after right now. I don't think it would be a problem for the owners to sell it as commercial."

In addition to the commercial corridor that runs through the site owned by the Ruzickas, there also is "a lot of heavy commercial (use) straight across the street from it," Rauck said.

Julie Ruzicka noted the property at 2102 Edwards previously was zoned residential until it was changed to its current commercial zoning in 2017.

The woman who previously owned the lot attempted to work with the owner of an adjacent vacant lot to combine the two properties and sell them for commercial use, she said. The effort did not attract a buyer, perhaps because the lot size would have made it difficult to create a feasible site that included a building and parking lot, Ruzicka said.

Pulte Homes of Ohio is proposing a 145-acre residential development at the northeast corner of London Groveport Road and Jackson Pike. This rendering of the initial concept plan for the development shows how an existing stream would bisect and divide the development into subareas.

The Pulte application was met with more success.

The developer has opted to proceed with one of various options for the site based on the feedback received during a special meeting the commission had held April 19 to hold a preliminary discussion about the proposed subdivision, development planner Dash Logan said.

The selected option addresses "the planning commission's noted desire for more dispersed and accessible green space across the site," he said. "The plan was also the plan they had originally submitted to staff in January for review."

Pulte is planning to build a total of 399 homes as part of the development. The site would include two subareas separated by a stream corridor that runs through the site.  

The developer is proposing to build 307 single-family homes on the subarea to the  north on lots ranging from 60 to 70 feet in width. The subarea south of the stream corridor would include 92 patio-style homes.

"Open space is distributed across the site to ensure all homes are located closer to an open area," Logan said. "The plan shows multiuse paths located across the site."

A connector leading from the development to the Scioto Grove Metro Park also is planned, said Tom Hart, a zoning lawyer representing Pulte.

The stream corridor also would be enhanced with paths and overlooks to make it not only an amenity for residents of the Pulte development and nearby subdivisions but also as a regional attraction open to all, he said.

The development staff recommended commission approval of the preliminary development plan with three stipulations, Logan said.

One stipulation would be that all single-family lots have a 70-foot width, he said. Another is that a traffic study be completed to examine necessary road improvements, such as deceleration and turn lanes on London Groveport Road or Jackson Pike and the potential for reconfiguring the bend in London Groveport at the southeast corner of the site.

The third stipulation is that the applicant work with the city to determine the appropriate ways to activate the central open space to ensure the space is accessible and acts as an amenity to area residents, Logan said.

The focus on the stream is one of the goals included in the development plan, Hart said.

The developer has agreed to work with the city on the issue of lot sizes, including lot sizes smaller than 70 feet in width, to help ensure all residents live near green spaces in the subdivision, he said.

"Those are important planning goals versus (the goal of) more lawn and more lot width," Hart said.

In today's market, many prospective homeowners desire having smaller lawns in exchange for having more community green space, he said.

The preliminary development plan will move to council for its review.

A more detailed development plan and zoning application will come later from Pulte.

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